Nailing Descartes to the wall…

Highlighted this morning in the Washington Post,

Cattle once ruled the seemingly endless grasslands here, delivering decades of prosperity for Argentina and producing a brand familiar to the world — natural, grass-fed beef.

But a quiet revolution has arrived on the famously fertile pampa, a swath of plains bigger than Texas.

Instead of roaming freely and eating to their hearts’ content, a growing number of Argentine cattle are spending a third of their lives in U.S.-style feedlots. There, crammed in muddy corrals, they are pumped with antibiotics and fed mounds of protein-rich grain, which fattens them up fast but hardly conjures up the romantic image of the Argentine cowboy, the iconic gaucho, lassoing cattle on the high plains.

Of course, this has been known for some time and is indicative of of the last thirty years of South American integration into a United States mold. Thirty years ago, we’d be discussing “modernity” and its merits. But is it wrong to pine for the past, no matter how imagined the era of the guacho truly is?

At this point, it comes down to personal choice. You buy the meat that was slaughtered from the rancher down the road (Kansas is nice about this) or you buy it from your local grocery store from the many factory farms and mataderos in your town (Kansas is nice about this). Two things to consider:

One, Rodrigo Troncoso, general manager of the Argentine Feedlot Chamber, sums up quite tellingly the underlying beliefs harbored by agribusinesses (he holds a master’s degree):

“Who is to say what’s natural and what’s not natural?” Troncoso said. “What’s natural is for a cow to grow, to reproduce and to die.”

Two, the obvious ecological impact, which cannot be stated enough.

On a personal level, I’m no connoisseur of meat, but I can attest that a grass-fed cow tastes a whole lot better than a factory-fed cow. It has been years since I was in Montevideo, where I remember eating steak with my grandfather. I will not pretend like that steak has stuck with me all these years, but the mouth waters at the prospect of cows raised on the pampas and not in the pens of USA Land.


~ by Daniel on September 10, 2009.

One Response to “Nailing Descartes to the wall…”

  1. There is still a demand for properly reared cattle and Argentina is still a world class supplier of Grass-Fed Beef, as with all things there will be a few people who try to cut corners.
    We wholly support the traditional farming methods and sell grass fed beef from Argentina.

    Malcolm Harris CEO Pampas Plains.Com

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